Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Adirondack Attic: Long Lake stoneware cooler

(Editor’s Note: The following is a sample of an “Adirondack Attic” story, by Andy Flynn, originally published in newspapers in November 2007 and re-printed in “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 5.” See a photo of the artifact on the cover of the book.)

Exploring one of the Adirondack Museum’s storage areas, I stumbled upon a piece of White’s stoneware made in Utica. The tag attached to the object reads: “John Lamere / Long Lake / Oct. 31, 1958.”

The cooler is not the typical stoneware jug spun on a potter’s wheel. It is made from a mold, as there are relief illustrations on the front and back, including some markings that help tell the story of this object. On the front, in a banner, are the words, “LONDON/ WHISKEY / CLUB.” The illustration around the lower half of the cooler features polo players on horses, and the word “POLO” is located in the center below one of the horses and just above the cooler spout hole (actually, the hole has been plugged and painted green). Originally white stoneware with a Bristol glaze, the illustrations and lettering were accented with cobalt blue glaze by the manufacturer. A past owner, however, had painted parts of the cooler green, red and brown. On the back of the cooler, the name of the distributor is highlighted in blue lettering on a banner: “JOHN P. / SHEEHAN / UTICA, N.Y. / SOLE ACTS.” It held about 3 gallons of liquid and the manufacturer was “White’s Utica,” circa 1880.

White’s Pottery was known by many names throughout its history, producing a wide variety of stoneware items from 1838 to 1907, including jugs, crocks, coffee pots, pitchers, beer steins, water coolers, butter crocks, butter churns, cheese jars, lager glasses, mugs, canteens, punch bowls, bean pots, humidors, match safes, umbrella stands, and vases.

Noah White (1793-1865) moved to Utica in 1828, three years after the entire length of the Erie Canal opened. Utica was an important hub of commerce along the canal, which stretched from Albany to Buffalo. White worked as a laborer and a boat captain until 1834, when he entered the pottery business under Samuel Addington. White was on his own by 1839.

(Read more about this stoneware cooler in “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 5.” Buy now at the Hungry Bear Publishing Book Store. $18.00)

Copyright 2007 Andy Flynn/Hungry Bear Publishing


  1. Thank you for introducing this book to us. I guess many people will love this book. Especially those who love pottery, stoneware, or other related kinds of ware.

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